About this resource
Trafficked 14-year-old girl in Athens, Greece, warns others to avoid danger from enslavers. Copyright Jim Goldberg/Magnum Photos
This website, which accompanies the printed Contemporary Slavery Teachers' Resource (pdf), has been produced through a collaboration between the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool and the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation, University of Hull, with support from UNESCO.
Why has the website been created?
In 2007 many schools marked the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British Transatlantic slave trade through assemblies, projects, displays and events. Slavery was treated as an episode in history that must be remembered, and its abolition presented as an inspiring story from which students could learn values of freedom, equality and respect for human dignity. But slavery is not confined to history. It has not disappeared. Rather it has disappeared from view.
Article 4 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that "no one shall be held in slavery or servitude" and slavery is now outlawed in every country. But as many as 27 million people, spread over nearly every continent, endure forms of treatment today that merit the term "slavery" just as surely as the slavery practised in 1807. Many victims of contemporary slavery are young people - the same age as those taught in schools in England and Wales.
This resource has been produced with particular reference to the teaching of Citizenship within the National Curriculum of England and Wales. We hope it will also be used beyond these borders among students aged 10-14.
Citizenship teaching in England and Wales is a vehicle which:
- enables young people to learn about the institutions that take decisions affecting society
- shows them that they can play an active role in this process now and in the future
- informs them about issues of social justice
- highlights the importance of human rights and responsibilities
- provides tools to engage young people in taking informed action in response to current events.
The website has been created to equip teachers of upper Key Stage 2, and of Key Stage 3 and beyond, so that they can teach about this important aspect of 21st century life with knowledge and confidence.
We hope that when students encounter this material, they will learn about how basic human rights, including those of people their own age, continue to be violated, and that they will develop empathy with those enduring slavery today and become motivated to contribute to their fight for freedom.
Sensitive material and controversial issues
Dealing with sensitive and controversial issues imposes responsibilities on teachers. We hope teachers will use the material in a way that empowers all students to feel that they can make a difference.
Contemporary slavery does not impact on all communities and national or ethnic groups in the same way. Different forms of slavery are more prevalent in some societies than in others. Teachers need to be sensitive to the context in which they are teaching and to take care when they focus on this subject not to reinforce negative stereotypes surrounding particular places or peoples. Slavery is not the province of any single group. Its most defiant opponents have come from across a range of communities. And students, whatever their background, can play an equal part in challenging contemporary slavery.
Teaching about contemporary slavery may mean exposing students to stories of severe exploitation and abuse, including sexual abuse. Teachers need to be sensitive about the impact of such information on children and young people and present it in a way that is appropriate to their age and level of comprehension.
We hope the materials that this resource pack contains fulfil their purpose and add to teachers' knowledge as well as that of their pupils.
If you are a teacher, we would really like to know what you think. We hope you will give us your feedback on this evaluation form.